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Will Google's JamBoard be the SmartBoard Killer?

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Technology
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April 3, 2017

Last year Google made an announcement about a new product that it would be releasing called JamBoard. Last year, they were accepting submissions from companies who wanted to test the product, but it wasn’t available for purchase.

So what is JamBoard? JamBoard is an interactive digital whiteboard that integrates with G Suite (Google Apps). It comes with two markers and an eraser (none of which need to be charged or paired). The Board has a screensaver, and when you approach it and touch the screen, you’re presented with a blank canvas. You can pick up the markers and draw, you can write out text and the board will automatically turn it into typed text, you can import images from the web, Google Docs, annotate, video chat and more!

One great thing about this product is that there’s an app that lets people join the session from their own devices. The collaboration is just like Google Docs, and it allows multiple people to edit and contributing in the same space from multiple devices. But enough of me talking about it. Watch this video.

Can you imagine having this as a teacher? Pull in files straight from Google Drive and annotate as well as allow students to interact and collaborate with you! You can also have two JamBoards working together, so you can work with a class down the hall or in another part of the state. The apps that come with it allow you to start editing on your personal device and place your file on the board when you're ready.

The JamBoard uses a 55-inch 4K Television that comes on a sturdy stand, or you can wall mount it. It’s a beautiful display. It has three ports in the back: one for ethernet, one for HDMI and one USB. I had the pleasure to go hands-on with it, and I can tell you it’s the most natural feeling digital whiteboard I’ve ever used.

The board will go on sale this May and will cost $4,999.00. It's expensive, but it's still cheaper than a smart board installation, and since it's mobile, it can be moved from room to room! If you want to see a live demo of the board you can view a great session from the Google Next conference here.

I know that this is a shift in how we work, but I think that devices like this will play a big role in the classroom moving forward.

About the Author

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Ben Parker

Director, Technology

Ben serves as Director of Technology for the OPSRC. In this role, he will provide support to schools on technical issues and training on pressing technology topics. Ben will assist partner schools with trainings, comprehensive technology plans, e-Rate applications, technology purchasing consultation, and other school and district technology decisions.

Prior to working with OPSRC, Ben was the Director of Technology for the Locust Grove Public School District. Ben implemented a 1:1 tablet program in Locust Grove that saw 6th-12th graders go paperless in the classroom.

In his free time, Ben likes to read and play the drums.